BlipFact--1) hearkening to the Blipverts of Max Headroom's era, a short, digestible fact; a factoid. Esp. as seen on the Net, where ephemerality is the way of things. Blipfacts in their purest form morph from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. Example: "The pound sterling is worth $1.43."
Impurity, however, beckons, as in the following:
According to researchers at the University of Edinburgh, at least 361 intelligent civilizations have formed in the Milky Way galaxy since its formation, or possibly as many as 38,000.--www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/space/02/25/galaxy.planets.kepler/index.html
These kinds of estimates are always changing--I remember working through an equation in Carl Sagan's Cosmos (the Drake equation), happily trying different values for life-bearing planets and, sometimes more pessimistically, numbers of civilizations that didn't blow themselves up before we could get to know them. The Drake equation is hardly based on firm numbers, but it tends to result in low numbers of civilizations (I think one more recent estimate is 2 or 2.3, if you can have a third of a civilization).
Of course, saying how many civs there are right now as opposed to "at some time since the galaxy formed" is very different, but my gut feeling is that our guesses are becoming 1) based on slightly more solid foundations and 2) more optimistic, as we have already discovered hundreds of planets outside our solar system, even using fairly limited means. One estimate in the same CNN article was for 100 billion habitable (Earth-like) planets--and that's not counting life that has evolved for conditions very unlike Earth's.
It looks a little bit more like science fiction every day ...
Well ... you'll just have to have a nose round, won't you?
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